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Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 available

Today Microsoft released Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2. With the release Microsoft did not only fix some bugs they also added some features. Especially Data Protection Manager (DPM) and Virtual Machine Manager got some new features and fixes which will help especially in large scale Cloud and Virtualization deployments.

Data Protection Manager

Features

  • Scalable VM backup
    This update rollup improves the reliability at scale for Virtual Machine (VM) backups on Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 R2 infrastructures. This feature is supported on both Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and scale-out file server (SOFS) storage configurations for VM.
  • Backup and consistency check windowImportant This feature is supported only for disk protection for VM data sources.This feature, configured through Windows PowerShell, enables specific time windows to restrict backup and consistency check (CC) jobs. This window can be applied per protection group and will limit all jobs for that protection to the specified time window.After the backup job has ended, all in-progress jobs can continue. Any queued jobs outside the backup and consistency jobs will be automatically canceled.This feature affects only scheduled jobs and does not affect specific jobs that are triggered by the user.Windows PowerShell script examples

    are available on Microsoft TechNet. These examples show how to use PowerShell cmdlets to create the backup and consistency window.

    Notes

    • This feature is not supported for tape or cloud protection jobs.
    • This feature is not supported for non-VM data sources.
    • Setting these windows is the same as running a Modify Protection Group workflow.
  • Support for synthetic fiber channel-to-tapeThis update rollup introduces support for the synthetic fiber channel-to-tape process. Follow the tape certification process

    for third-party tape devices when you use Data Protection Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

 

Fixes

  • A backup of a mirrored SQL instance fails if the principal SQL instance that was first backed up is now the mirror.
  • DPM console crashes while a recatalog or “mark as free” operation is performed on an imported tape.
  • The MSDPM service crashes when protected data sources have long names.
  • The DPMRA service crashes during replica creation when the database name on one of the SQL instances matches or is a substring of a SQL instance name that is hosted on the protected server.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager

Virtual Machine Manager

Features

  • This update includes a Linux guest agent upgrade to support the following new operating systems:
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (32-bit)
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (64-bit)
  • This update also includes the following:
    • Host DHCP extension driver upgrade
    • Several performance improvements
    • Several Management Pack package improvements

 

Fixes

  • Total storage for a User role is reported incorrectly. For example, the User role can use only half of the allowed quota.
  • A host cluster update fails intermittently because of a locked job.
  • Virtual machine (VM) refreshers do not update highly available virtual machines (HAVMs) after failover to another node.
  • A cluster IP address for a guest cluster configuration in a Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) environment is not updated correctly by using HNV policies during failover. For more information about this issue, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    2981736

    The cluster IP address in an HNV environment is updated incorrectly during failover

  • Server Message Block (SMB) shares may not be usable by high availability (HA) workloads if they are also connected to stand-alone hosts.
  • Storage objects discovery does not occur on a Virtual Machine Manager server if the discovery item is too big.
  • A Virtual Machine Manager job that assigns network service backend connectivity fails.
  • Enable maintenance mode fails when you evacuate failed-state VMs.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager service cannot be restarted because of database corruption.
  • The ZH-TW language incorrectly appears in the tooltip of the VM Network icon.
  • Library refresher rewrites the alternative data stream on every file during every update.
  • For iSCSI hardware storage-based array, when the MaskingPortsPerView property option is set to “multi-port per view,” the target endpoint is not obtained as the port address.
  • The virtual hard disk (VHD) is left in the source folder after storage migration is completed.
  • The addition of a bandwidth limitation to an existing virtual private network (VPN) connection is not added to the generated script.
  • A VM that is attached to an HNV VM network loses connectivity when it is live migrated to another node in the failover cluster that is not currently hosting other VMs that belong to the same VM network.
  • VM network shared access is lost after a service restart or an update interval.
  • The Remove-SCFileShare command fails for a network-attached storage SMI-S provider.
  • Setting the template time zone to UTC (GMT +0:00) is incorrectly displayed as “Magadan Standard Time.”
  • The System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager crashes when you add groups that contain the at sign (@) character in User roles.
  • VM deployment fails in a VMWare environment when you have virtual hard disk (.vmdk) files of the same size in your template.
  • Deployment of an application host on HAVMM fails and generates a 22570 error.
  • Live migration of an HAVM cross cluster creates a duplicate VM role in the target cluster.
  • An error occurs when you apply physical adapter network settings to a teamed adapter.
  • A VMM agent crashes continuously when the HvStats_HyperVHypervisorLogicalProcessor query returns a null value.
  • A host refresh does not update the VMHostGroup value of a VMWARE cluster after the cluster is moved from VCENTER.
  • VMM reports an incorrect Disk Allocation size for dynamic VHDs that are mapped to a virtual machine.
  • A VMM service template script application does not work for a self-service role.
  • VM creation fails if Virtual Machine Manager undergoes failover during the creation process.
  • The Access Status value of a file share is incorrect in the user interface.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager service crashes because of an invalid ClusterFlags value.
  • VMs cannot be deployed from a service template to a cloud across multiple host clusters (multiple datacenters).

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

Orchestrator and Service Management Automation

Fixes

  • When a runbook calls other runbooks, Service Management Automation (SMA) concatenates all the participating runbooks into a single script and then passes the script to the PowerShell Workflow engine for compilation. The resulting script may contain multiple signature blocks, and SMA receives a compilation error from the Powershell Workflow.
  • When child runbooks contain a signature block, the child runbooks cannot be compiled into inline runbooks. If there is more than one signature block, the resulting runbook will be corrupted.
  • Cmdlets should request information from the server, up to a limit on the number of records that are returned, and then request the next “page” of records, until all records are retrieved.
  • When a Windows PowerShell user uses the Set-SmaCertificate cmdlet, the user cannot receive private key information when he or she uses the Get-AutomationCertificate activity.
  • The Automation menu stops working in Administrator Portal, and you may notice that the Orchestrator ODATA API controller cannot return Modules data. Additionally, you receive the following error message:
    Microsoft.Data.OData.OdataInnerError
    Message: The file exists.
    TypeName: System.IO.IOException
  • Service Management Automation (SMA) resources are paged. The cmdlets have to evaluate the response from the web service for the presence of a continuation token and then make a sequence of ListNext web requests if a continuation token is present.
  • SMA may not return the latest job ID for the runbook. The Invoke-ConfiguratorRunbook activity will have the job ID when it calls the Start-SMARunbook cmdlet, and the job ID should be returned to the caller. This occurs because SMA does not return the most recent job for a runbook. This issue occurs occur in a multiple-run scenario. If the configurator passes the first run, this issue has no effect.
  • The Orchestrator Runbook Service (RunbookService.exe) may crash, and you receive the following error message:
    Application: RunbookService.exe
    Framework Version: v4.0.30319
    Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.
    Exception Info: System.ServiceModel.CommunicationException
  • If a runbook is large enough to exceed the default Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) channel size, an exception occurs. This issue causes the job to be stuck in the “New” state.
  • When Update Rollup 2 is uninstalled, the connection properties to the instance of Microsoft SQL Server are cleared.

 

 

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator

Service Manager

Fixes

  • The Microsoft Systems Center 2012 Operations Manager configuration item (CI) connector does not retrieve disk mount point information for the Service Manager database.
  • When a service request is created from a request offering in the console and when every user prompt is of the Simple List prompt type, the console shows options from all simple lists in each user prompt.
  • When you try to close a customized change request, you cannot close the change request, the task throws an error, and the close is not actioned.
  • MPSync job failures that are logged to the event log do not contain enough information to allow for a quick diagnosis of the problem.
  • All Service Manager workflows may stall when any invalid XML characters (control characters) are used in a work item property.
  • Using the “Set First Response or Comment” task in a service request creates a “Private” flag that cannot be used for evaluation in a notification action log or a user comment update. This behavior occurs because the private flag is undefined.
  • If the configuration management database (CMDB) is down (that is, if it is offline or unable to connect because of network issues) at the time that the Health service is restarted and if the CMDB continues to be offline for a long time, the Health service may enter an unrecoverable state even if the database comes online again later.
  • Configuration Manager Connector synchronization may stop after Update Rollup 2 for Service Manager 2012 SP1 or Update Rollup 6 for Service Manager 2012 R2 is applied. This issue occurs when the connector tries to synchronize malformed or incomplete software version information from the Configuration Manager database.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager

Operations Manager

Fixes

  • A deadlock condition occurs when a database is connected after an outage. You may experience this issue may when one or more HealthServices services in the environment are listed as Unavailable after a database goes offline and then comes back online.
  • The Desktop console crashes after exception TargetInvocationException occurs when the TilesContainer is updated. You may experience this issue after you leave the console open on a Dashboard view for a long time.
  • The Password expiration monitor is fixed for logged events. To make troubleshooting easier, this fix adds more detail to Event IDs 7019 and 7020 when they occur.
  • The Health service bounces because of high memory usage in the instance MonitoringHost: leak MOMModules!CMOMClusterResource::InitializeInstance. This issue may be seen as high memory usage if you examine monitoringhost.exe in Performance Monitor. Or, the Health service may restart every couple of days , depending on the load on the server.
  • The Health service crashes in Windows HTTP Services (WinHTTP) if the RunAs account is not read correctly.
  • Windows PowerShell stops working with System.Management.Automation.PSSnapInReader.ReadEnginePSSnapIns. You may see this issue as Event ID 22400 together with a description of “Failed to run the Powershell script.”
  • The PropertyValue column in the contextual details widget is unreadable in smaller widget sizes because the PropertyName column uses too much space.
  • The update threshold for monitor “Health Service Handle Count Threshold” is reset to 30,000. You can see this issue in the environment, and the Health Service Handle Count Threshold monitor is listed in the critical state.
  • An acknowledgement (ACK) is delayed by write collisions in MS queue when lots of data is sent from 1,000 agents.
  • The execution of the Export-SCOMEffectiveMonitoringConfiguration cmdlet fails with the error “Subquery returned more than 1 value.”
  • The MOMScriptAPI.ReturnItems method can be slow because a process race condition may occur when many items are returned, and the method may take two seconds between items. Scripts may run slowly in the System Center Operations Manager environment.
  • When you are in the console and click Authoring, click Management Pack, click Objects, and then click Attributes to perform a Find operation, the Find operations seems unexpectedly slow. Additionally, the Momcache.mdb file grows very large.
  • A delta synchronization times out on SQL operations with Event ID 29181.
  • Operations Manager grooms out the alert history before an alert is closed.
  • The time-zone settings are not added to a subscription when non-English display languages are set. Additionally, time stamps on alert notifications are inaccurate for the time zone.
  • Web Browser widget requires the protocol (http or https) to be included in the URL.
  • You cannot access MonitoringHost’s TemporaryStoragePath within the PowerShell Module.
  • The TopNEntitiesByPerfGet stored procedure may cause an Operations Manager dashboard performance issue. This issue may occur when a dashboard is run together with multiple widgets. Additionally, you may receive the following error message after a time-out occurs:
    [Error] :DataProviderCommandMethod.Invoke{dataprovidercommandmethod_cs370}( 000000000371AA78 )
    An unknown exception was caught during invocation and will be re-wrapped in a DataAccessException. System.TimeoutException: The operation has timed out.
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Monitoring.DataProviders.RetryCommandExecutionStrategy.Invoke(IDataProviderCommandMethodInvoker invoker)
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.DataAccess.DataProviderCommandMethod.Invoke(CoreDataGateway gateWay, DataCommand command)

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager



SCVMM Bare-Metal Fails

Add drivers to SCVMM Bare-Metal WinPE Image

A long time ago I wrote a blog post on how you can use System Center Virtual Machine Manager Bare-Metal Deployment to deploy new Hyper-V hosts. Normally this works fine but if you have newer hardware, your Windows Server Image does may not include the network adapter drivers. Now this isn’t a huge problem since you can mount and insert the drivers in the VHD or VHDX file for the Windows Server Hyper-V image. But if you forget to update the WinPE file from Virtual Machine Manager your deployment will fails, since the WinPE image has not network drivers included it won’t able to connect to the VMM Library or any other server.

You will end up in the following error and your deployment will timeout on the following screen:

“Synchronizing Time with Server”

SCVMM Bare-Metal Fails

If you check the IP configuration with ipconfig you will see that there are no network adapters available. This means you have to update your SCVMM WinPE image.

First of all you have to copy the SCVMM WinPE image. You can find this wim file on your WDS (Windows Deployment) PXE Server in the following location E:\RemoteInstall\DCMgr\Boot\WIndows\Images (Probably your setup has another drive letter.

WDS SCVMM Boot WIM

I copied this file to the C:\temp folder on my System Center Virtual Machine Manager server. I also copied the extracted drivers to the C:\Drivers folder.

After you have done this, you can use Greg Casanza’s (Microsoft) SCVMM Windows PE driver injection script, which will add the drivers to the WinPE Image (Boot.wim) and will publish this new boot.wim to all your WDS servers. I also rewrote the script I got from using drivers in the VMM Library to use drivers from a folder.

Update SCVMM WinPE

This will add the drivers to the Boot.wim file and publish it to the WDS servers.

Update WDS Server

After this is done the Boot.wim will work with your new drivers.

 

 

 

 

 



Microsoft Cloud OS

Free Microsoft Cloud OS webinar series in March and April

In March and April I will present together with Microsoft and itnetx in webinars about the Microsoft Cloud OS. The webinars will be free and will cover an overview about the Microsoft Cloud OS. The Microsoft Cloud OS is the story behind the latest releases of Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V System Center, Windows Azure Pack and Windows Azure. The webinar series will be split in three different sessions and will cover how you can plan, build and operate a Microsoft Cloud and how you can bring the Private & Public Cloud together to make use of a Hybrid Cloud model.

Webinar 1 - Microsoft Cloud OS: Overview

10:00
Presenter: Markus Erlacher, Marcel Zehner
ANMELDUNG

Webinar 2 - Microsoft Cloud OS: Planning & Architecture

25.März 2014, 09:00-10:00
Presenter: Thomas Maurer
ANMELDUNG

Webinar 1 - Microsoft Cloud OS: Operation

02.April 2014, 09:00-10:00
Presenter: Thomas Maurer, Philipp Witschi
ANMELDUNG

All three webinars will be free and will held in German.



Windows Server 2012 R2 Private CLoud Storage and Virtualization

Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters

Yesterday Microsoft released the Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters. This includes overviews over Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, Scale-Out File Server, Storage Spaces and much more. These posters provide a visual reference for understanding key private cloud storage and virtualization technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2. They focus on understanding storage architecture, virtual hard disks, cluster shared volumes, scale-out file servers, storage spaces, data deduplication, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, and virtual hard disk sharing.

Bedsides the overview poster, Microsoft Includes the following Mini-Posters:

  • Virtual Hard Disk and Cluster Shared Volumes Mini Poster
  • Virtual Hard Disk Sharing Mini Poster
  • Understanding Storage Architecture Mini Poster
  • Storage Spaces and Deduplication Mini Poster
  • Scale-Out and SMB Mini Poster
  • Hyper-V and Failover Clustering Mini Poster

You can get the posters from the Microsoft download page.



Microsoft TechNet Conference 2013 am 12. & 13. November 2013 in Berlin

TechNet Conference 2013 – Fabric Management with Virtual Machine Manager Session Online

From 11. to 12. November the first Microsoft Germany TechNet Conference 2013 took place in Berlin, Germany. I had the chance to present a session about Virtualization Fabric Management with System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager and Hyper-V. There were also some other great session from other Microsoft MVPs like Carsten Rachfahl, Aidan Finn, Maarten Goet, Daniel Neumann, Damian Flynn, Benedict Berger and many more. At this time thanks to Microsoft Germany for this great event and the opportunity to talk at this event.

Last week Microsoft published the sessions (German) online:

TechNet Conference 2013: Virtualisierungsinfrastruktur verwalten – Fabric Management mit Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2

TechNet Conference Session

have fun and a good start into the week.



Hyper-V over SMB Multichannel

Hyper-V over SMB: SMB Multichannel

As already mentioned in my first post, SMB 3.0 comes with a lot of different supporting features which are increasing the functionality in terms of performance, security, availability and backup. Here are some quick notes about some of the features which make the whole Hyper-V over SMB scenario work, this time SMB Multichannel.

SMB Multichannel was designed to solve two problems, first make the path from the Hyper-V host (SMB Client) to the File Server or Scale-Out File Server (SMB Server) redundant and get more performance by using multiple network paths. If you are using iSCSI or Fiber Channel you use MPIO (Multipath-IO) to use multiple available paths to the storage. For normal SMB traffic you may be used NIC Teaming to achieve that. SMB Multichannel is a much easier solution which offers great performance. SMB Multichannel will automatically make use of different network adapters which are configured with different IP subnets.

In my tests and the environment I have build for customers, I have seen great performance with SMB Mutlichannel. It works “better” as NIC Teaming because most of the time you just get one active network interface except you use LACP and stuff like which requires the configuration of network switches with cheap switches you may lose redundancy. The same with MPIO, MPIO most of the time works great but you can sometimes not get the performance you should get in an active/active configuration. With SMB Multichannel I can simply bundle two or even more NICs together and Multichannel will make use of all of them.

Hyper-V over SMB Multichannel

Btw. SMB Mutlichannel is also a must have if you are using RDMA NICs, because of the redundancy you only get with SMB Multichannel.

SMB Mutlichannel and NIC Teaming

SMB Mutlichannel does also work in combination with Windows Server NIC Teaming. But the feature SMB Direct (RDMA) does not allow you to use NIC Teaming or the Hyper-V Virtual Switch, because you would loose the RDMA functionality.

How do you setup SMB Multichannel?

Well the setup of SMB Multichannel is quite easy because it’s enabled by default, but there are some things you should now about SMB Multichannel for designing your environment or just to troubleshoot an installation.

Verify SMB Multichannel

Verify that SMB Multichannel is active on the client

Verify that SMB Multichannel is active on the server

You can also disable or enable Mutlichannel if you need to.

To see if all the right connections are used you can use the following commands on the client to see all the SMB connections and verifiy that all SMB Mutlichannel connections are open and using the write protocol version.

SMB Mutlichannel Constraint

Another thing you have to know about SMB Mutlichannel is how you limit the SMB connection to specific network interfaces. For example, you have a Hyper-V hosts which has an 1 gigabit network adapter for management and stuff and you have two 10Gbit (or greater) RDMA interfaces which should be used for the connection to the storage, you want to make sure that the Hyper-V hosts only uses the RDMA network interface to connected to the storage. With a simple PowerShell cmdlet you can limit the Hyper-V host to only access a file shares with the RDMA interfaces.

  • Fileshare where the Virtual Machines are stored: \\SMB01\VMs01
  • Name of the 1 GBit network interface for Management and stuff: Management
  • Name of the RDMA interfaces: RDMA01 and RDMA02

Make sure you run this on every Hyper-V host, not on the SMB file server.

Well there is a little bit more behind SMB Multichannel but  this should give you a great jumpstart into this feature. If you want to know more about SMB Multichannel checkout Jose Barretos (Microsoft Corp.) blog post on The basics of SMB Multichannel.



System Center Advisor now adds Monitoring for Virtual Machine Manager

System Center Logo

Daniele Muscetta posted a blog article on the System Center Operations Manager Engineering Blog some days ago that System Center Advisor now supports System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager.

If you have Virtual Machine Manager servers in your environment, look for new alerts about their configuration – and that of their agents.
This represents the first step towards providing proactive guidance and configuration best practices for all System Center components that power your private cloud infrastructure

It’s great to see that the integration between the different parts of the System Center product family gets even better connected.

Where can I learn more about Advisor?

If you are not familiar with System Center Advisor – what it is, what it does and how it works, please refer to:

  • This couple of blog post

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2013/03/06/system-center-advisor.aspx

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2013/04/09/system-center-advisor-connector-for-operations-manager-preview.aspx

  • This TechED presentation
    http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2013/MDC-B208 (Joseph starts speaking about Advisor at about 41:25)
  • The official System Center Advisor website

    https://www.systemcenteradvisor.com/